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>> look, you've seen the houses that i've done, you've seen the houses that my students are doing. now, there's only a few minutes left in this television infomercial. listen, you only have a few minutes to call and act right now, but you got to call the number, you got to get registered for the seminar. you can't just show up without registering, so call right now to be able to go to the seminar. what are you waiting for? there's only a few minutes left. here are the details. call the number right there at the bottom of that screen right there. see that little number? you actually have to take action and call it. get yourself off the couch, because listen, if you don't do it, somebody else will. everybody says, "armando, if it's such a good deal, why isn't somebody else doing it?" that's what the first negative person ever told me. and you know what it is? you are that somebody else. if i hadn't have taken that first deal, i would have never got the number-one hit reality real estate show in america, become america's number-one real estate mentor, leader,
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he deserves justice. >> he was a dashing entrepreneur with a hunger for adventure, but his exotic life ended in murder. >> you ever see anything like this before? >> no, i never have. >> suspicion swirled around a captivating woman. >> this will be your down fall. >> could she be involved in this killing? do you think dara had anything to do with john's murder? >> no. a baffling case with a stunning twist. did someone commit the perfect cri crime? >> i'm never going to let go of this. >> "trouble in paradise." thanks for joining us, i'm chris hansen. he was an american entrepreneur with a love more adventure who became the target of a strange murder plot half a world away. it's a case that investigators believe they've solved. so why are the suspects still walking free? we traveled the globe for
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answers. it takes 20 hours or more high above the clouds. a flight from one world to another. to a land of intrigue and mystery. where sometimes there are more questions than answers. and where an american family says someone's gotten away with the perfect crime. >> when i was first told by the fbi agent, i remember i was so upset. i was actually sick. >> a beautiful woman and her dashing fiance, both in the prime of life.
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then in a house on a quiet road in thailand, it all ended in a hail of bullets. tonight, a story of tangled romance, jealousy and death in one of the world's most exotic locales. a mystery to some, but to american and thai law enforcement authorities, a case of twists and turns that, perhaps, have allowed people to get away with murder. the story twins in a decidedly less exotic place. providence, rhode island. if you had to describe him to somebody who never met john, how would you describe him? >> happy-go-lucky and loved life. loved it. >> sheryl rebello is the younger sister of john lashapel, jr.
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she and her father, john sr., are holding on to memories of a brother and son who was always the center of attention. >> everybody he met he had to talk to. i don't care where we went. if we took him to a restaurant, i swear he knew half the restaurant before we left the place. >> yet from the family photos taken when he was a boy, there are glimpses into a lonely childhood. after his parents divorced he was raised by his father. >> when he was little he said daddy, my mommy doesn't want me, my grandma's upset with me, he says, you're only thing i've got. he says, please, always be there for me. >> he was a product of the '70s and '80s. john lived fast, drove hard and got his kicks in sports cars and motorcycles. after graduating with honors from high school, john modeled in print ads a few times. he joined the army where he
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served as a paratrooper. then while he was home on leave, he ended up in deep legal trouble. he was accused of raping his girlfriend. he denied it but accepted a plea bargain for second degree sexual assault. >> he was out with a girlfriend. he caught a seven-year deferred sentence on that. he never went to jail for that. >> his family says it was a difficult time, but he put it behind him and a few years later he was about to get engaged to another woman. then tragedy. >> she got killed in a car accident. he cried his heart out. she was pregnant. she got killed on his birthday. and from that point women were like a grain of salt to him. >> he lost his true love? >> it would have took him a long time to trust himself to love, i think, because he was hurt so terribly from losing maureen. >> he had on and off girlfriends and married for a brief time
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when he was in his late 20s, but for the next decade, he put close relationships aside, except for one companion who he hoped for even ads a child. a pet monkey. he named him jacob. >> jacob he thought was his son. that's what he called him. his son. he had him for years. it was comical together. he slept with them. woke up to him every night. he bathed him all the time. he ate and drank line a human being. i mean -- >> seriously? >> oh, seriously. >> right up at the dinner table? >> oh, yeah. >> john came to be known as the monkey man. eventually he got into contracting and real estate and turned all his energy to business. he lived in this house on a lake in connecticut and always wanted more. >> he wanted achievement and money came with it. he was always trying different stuff. >> and that search for money and opportunity led him to thailand.
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thailand, where john lashapel jr. found a whole host of ways to make money. he started an export/import business, dealing with teakwood furniture, even coffee. john bought a house in thailand and flew back and forth from the states at least four or five times a year. >> he loved it. he would have moved there if it weren't for his monkey. he absolutely loved that place. he thought it was great. >> business it seemed was booming and john's family said he had a goal that looked within reach. >> he'd be like, aisle goii'm g retire when i'm 50. i used to say, what if you don't make it to 50? you're missing the best part of your life. he'd always say, you know, i have to work now so when i'm 50 i can do what i want. >> and with john so focused on
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his goal, other facets of his life were on the back burner. >> i would say he'd be a hard person to date because he's always driven to work. he was always working. >> in connecticut, though, in 2003, john met an attractive young woman through mutual friends. her name was dara. she was 29 when they met. nine years younger than john. she grew up in connecticut and attended business school in new london. john thought she was a knockout. >> dara was very pretty. that's all he saw in her immediately. >> that wasn't at all. she was a real go-getter. savvy in sales and marketing. >> dara was very bright. john used to brag about her all the time as being very, very bright and how sharp she was. he said, i finally found somebod somebody, he says, willing to work as hard as i am to make money. >> she moved into john's house in connecticut and started working with him. in fact, they told friends and
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relatives they'd gotten engaged. here they are christmas eve 2005 at john's sister's house. they seemed happy. but then just ten months later while john was working in thailand, his sister got an early morning phone call in her home in rhode island. >> the phone rang. oh, god, i knew instantly. i had this sick -- i don't know what it was. i remember screaming and jumping out of bed and running, get the phone. >> before you answered the phone? >> my phone never rang at 5:30 in the morning. >> sheryl's dread was well placed. half a world away, gunshots had broken the still of a quiet thai night. coming up -- >> he walked behind the house, looked into the kitchen, aimed the weapon, fired. >> who pulled the trigger and who was the target? when "trouble in paradise" continues.
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it was the early morning hours of september 28th, 2006. in a small rhode island town, john lachappelle's sister, sheryl, got a phone call from her brother's fiancee, dara panasy. >> she was like, sheryl, your brother's dead. i remember i was screaming and i remember falling to my knees.
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>> half way around the world in a land of quiet villages and gentle breezes, an evening's calm had been shattered. it was a warm, humid night. at his home near chengmi, thaila thailand, john lachappelle jr. was standing in his kitchen talking on his cell phone. someone walked up the front path and through the side garden. >> he walked by the house, looked in the door, saw john lachappelle standing there on his cell phone without his shirt on. >> special agent of the fbi -- >> he aimed the weapon at john lachappelle's back. he fell to the floor. put a new round into the weapon. and finished him off. >> john's body was discovered by this woman, his business
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attorney in thailand named oi. >> you saw his body on the floor? >> in the kitchen. >> blood all over the place? >> yes. >> i telephoned police. >> you're the one that actually called police. >> yes. >> the thai police moved quickly to investigate. they searched for clues and motives. at first, nothing seemed to make sense, but according to his attorney, there was reason to believe john's business dealings in thailand might have something to do with his murder. what was his reputation here? >> people tried to run away from him. >> people tried to run away from him. why? because he was a bad businessman, didn't pay bills on time? >> correct. >> he made enemies in. >> yes. >> lots of enemies in. >> lots. >> thai police interviewed business associates, friends and former friends. manewhile, back in the united states, john's family members tried to comprehend their loss. overcome with grief, sheryl
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thought back to the last time she saw her brother, a few weeks later when he was preparing to leave to thailand. >> every day we'd go out to dinner, i'd do my ritual not to go. >> you begg eged him not to go? >> oh, every time. >> why? >> because i always thought something would happen to him there. he's not scared of anything. get himself in trouble. >> and the last time they had dinner, she said, her brother didn't seem himself at all. >> he had never been upset before he left to thailand and this time he was upset when we had gone to dinner. >> why was he upset? >> he was under stress. he was having problems with somebody out there that was working for him. he was really upset over that. i'd never seen him like that, so i was more nervous that he was going here. >> it seems one of john's employees, his administrative assistant, a man named james, was angry at him over a paycheck dispute. in fact, sheryl had a chilling
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phone conversation with james the morning she learned about the murder. before john was even officially identified. >> james is just screaming in my ear. i didn't kill him. >> james the assistant. >> screaming at the top -- i didn't kill him. i didn't -- i'm like, what the hell are you -- like, would you stop screaming in my ear? >> he's screaming in your ear over the phone, i did not kill him, i did not kill him. >> i'm like, what do you mean? he's found dead, they're going to blame me. i said, was it john? he goes, i don't know, i didn't see him i'm like, james, go to the hospital for me and i need you to identify that it's actually johnny. he tells me, i don't know where the hospital is. >> i don't know where the hospital is? >> you live in thailand and you're telling me you do not know where this hospital is? >> to sheryl, the conversation couldn't have been more suspicious. and within months, her suspicions were born out when thai police got a tip about james. what was the break in the case
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for thai authorities? how did all this come together? >> an associate of james was arrested on an unrelated charge. and came forward and said, well, if you give me a break on that charge, i'll tell you about a murder that i know about. that was the break that they got. >> the informant said a plot was hatched at this nightclub. here he claimed james asked him to hire a shooter to kill john lachappelle, but the case wasn't over. not by a long shot. coming up -- could someone else be involved in this killing? the investigation takes a strange turn. >> i said, this one will be your
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chiang mai, thailand, 2007. four months after american businessman john lachappelle was gunned down in his own home, police got a big break. an informant told investigators that john's administrative assi assista assistant, a man named james hired a gun man to murder john. thai police checked the story and they believe they found solid evidence. fbi special agent -- so they went out and arrested james? >> they went out and arrested james and arrested the shooter and they both confessed. >> they confessed. >> james confessed to me when i interviewed him in prison. >> what did james tell you? >> he told me that he'd been insulted by john lachappelle,
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he'd been cheated by john lachappelle. >> he gets caught, he confesses. >> he confesses. >> to the thai authorities and to you? >> and to me. >> did his story make sense to you as an experienced investigator? >> perfect sense. fit. >> the murder weapon, a sawed off shotgun, was not recovered. on top of cell phone and banking records, thai investigators had the suspects recreate the crime. here, the alleged shooter aims another gun in lieu of the missing shotgun. back in the united states, john's family got the news of the confessions from the u.s. embassy. did you breathe a sigh of relief when you heard that at least two of these people were going to be prosecuted in your brother's death? >> oh, yes. at first we didn't have high hopes because they said thailand, you know, the government out there is nothing like ours and, you know, the police force is nothing like ours and when it happened four months later, oh, yeah, that was a great feeling because i thought, i can't even believe
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this is happening, they caught him so fast. >> there was a lot more to the story. john's family was about to receive more sickening news. >> don't want to know that because then you never trust anybody again. >> when james gave his confession, there was one crucial detail that would change everything. james also implicated someone else. someone very close to john, and it was really a shocker. john's fiancee and business partner, dara panasy. fbi special agent lawton says james gave him a detailed description of the alleged plot. >> james gave it up. we went back over his statement and he told me that he wanted to cooperate and explain to me how the whole thing happened. about a month before the murder occurred, a decision was made by dara panasy to hire somebody to kill john lachappelle.
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>> to kill john? >> yes. >> she offered him 300,000, which is almost $10,000 to murder john lachappelle and this guy, james, went and found a shooter to do the job. >> could james be pointing the finger at dara to save his own skin? >> trying to get a break. he was looking at life in prison or maybe execution. so he was afraid. >> so thai police and the fbi started digging deeper, interviewing more than 40 witnesses and the more they looked, they believed the more they found to back up james' story. what evidence exists that actually ties dara to james? >> cell phone records, banking records. >> police found wire transfer documents showing dara panasy gave an $8,395 payment to james the day before the killing.
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more money than she'd ever sent him before. in business, dara and james commuted regularly, but thai police obtained cell phone records showing a spike in the number of phone calls and text messages from dara to james during the time the plot was allegedly put in motion. a plot they say that was run by dara in connecticut. so you had james' confession. >> yes. >> you had banking records showing there was a payment, in fact. >> yes. >> and you had cell phone records. >> yes. >> to the fbi, the thai police were putting together a strong case against dara panasy. >> it's an incredibly thorough and professional police organization. they're no nonsense. and they did a very thorough job investigating this case. >> but questions remained. what motive would dara possibly have? it seemed outrageous. in fact, that's the very reason why the fbi's lawton was called into the case in the first
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place. lawton has investigated more than two dozen homicide and the thai police needed his help finding out just who this person was. this woman who was accused of ord ordering the murder of john lachappelle, an american citizen, in thailand. your mission in this case was to do what? >> my mission in this case was to find out everything i could about dara panasy and everything i could about john lachappelle and why dara panasy would want to murder john lachappelle. >> john's family, it turns out they had suspicions all along. >> to be honest, first time i met her i didn't care for her. >> why not? >> my exact words, they haunt me today, i said, this one will be your downfall. coming up, devoted fiancee or mastermind of a plot? did dara have motive for a murder in. >> john's going to move his new girlfriend in thailand back to
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the united states. >> where did that leave dara? >> out in the cold. >> when "trouble in paradise" continues. [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow
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john lachappelle was shot to death at his house in thailand in september, 2006. his fiancee, dara panasy was soon accused by one of the
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suspects as being the mastermind in a murder for hire plot, a plot allegedly orchestrated from john's own home in connecticut. it seemed difficult to believe. they appeared happy. to understand the case, investigators say you have to peel back the layers of john and dara's very unusual relationship. most of the time, john lived with dara at this house on a lake in connecticut, along with jacob, his pet monkey. together, they were running a successful business. they were making money? >> oh, yeah, she, the export/import thing, she thrived on that, she absolutely loved that. >> they were a team. in business and apparently romance. she wore an engagement ring, but john's family didn't think they were getting married any time soon. they thought it all had more to do with business than love. >> why did she have the ring? >> because in this business she dealt with a lot of rich asian
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people and she said that they were offended by the fact that she was his girlfriend, like they dealt better if he said my fiancee. so in their mind they felt better if she wore -- >> an engagement ring. >> engagement ring and called herself his fiancee. it was to do with the culture. >> special agent james lawton of the fbi was called in after thai police pointed to dara as the mastermind. he was to find out everything he could about dara and john's relationship. what do you think the reality was? >> the reality in my opinion is that he thought the relationship was about business. and she thought the relationship was about romance. >> but there was more. there were revelations about john's life overseas. during his time in thailand, john lachappelle w a would-be entrepreneur. a man on the move. he traveled around chiang mai brokering deals, going from one
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new venture to the next. the word here was he got around in other ways as well. john might have been engaged to dara back in the states, but in thailand, he was living the life of a carefree bachelor. oi was john's business attorney in thailand. he had the reputation of being a bit of a playboy? >> yes. >> he had a lot of girlfriends? >> yes. >> and everybody knew it. >> yes. everybody knew that. >> and was he proud of that? did he like that reputation? >> i told him that if you have many women, you're going to have problems. >> but that didn't stop john from having dara come for a visit. she met many of john's friends and business associates. >> yes. i know dara the same as i know john. john says this is his fiancee. helping with everything. >> he told you his administrator --
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>> and fiancee. >> she says john's fiancee knew he had relationships with other women. >> everybody knew that. even dara. >> dara, his fiancee knew it. >> yes. >> dara may have tolerated john's womanizing. according to the fbi, john's latest romance with a thai woman seemed like more than a fling and made dara furious enough, the fbi says, to have dara get james to hire a gunman to kill john. >> dara had been calling him up a lot to try and keep track of what john was doing. dara called up and said, where's john? listen, this guy is no good to me alive. i'll pay you money to murder him. >> do you think she felt like if john continued this relationship with the other woman that she'd be x'd out of the business? >> yes. as a matter of fact, john had told people that he was going to move his new girlfriend in thailand back to the united states. >> where did that leave dara? >> that was going to leave dara
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out in the cold. >> since the murder, john's family had grown increasingly suspicious of dara. just weeks before he died, cheryl says, his brother told her he was breaking off his engagement with dara. dara called her to talk. >> she called afterwards and said, did your brother tell you we're breaking up? i go, yes, he did. she goes, well, i haven't killed him yet. >> i haven't killed him yet. >> that's what she said to me. >> how much time passed before johnny was killed? >> a week, week and a half. >> john and dara had broken up. at the time cheryl brushed off dara's remark as a joke. now it seemed strange. to cheryl dara seemed surprisingly unemotional. >> she sat down next to me and she goes, cheryl, i have the will and when i leave here, i'm going to the lawyer's office. >> one hour after she told you your brother's dead in a very
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cold manner, she has the will in her hand. >> she's telling me she has the will in her car and leaving from my house to go to her lawyer. there's no tears, no nothing. she's just driving on. >> soon after john's death, his family learned dara was the beneficiary of his estate. estimated at more than $1 million. including his life insurance. how much was the life insurance policy? >> half million dollars. >> she gets a half million dollars. she gets the houses. >> yes. >> the cars. >> yes. >> the boats. the business. all of it. did you ever think she was capable of having your son killed? >> i did. >> you did? >> i did. >> as the investigation continued in thailand, john's family ran one of their own at home in the states trying not to show their suspicion, they kept in touch with dara, looking for any signs she was involved. >> me and my dad, we would go out to dinner and try to get things on her. like, see if we could make her
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slip up, see if she would say anything. >> almost acting as private investigators. >> exactly. seeing if we could get her to stumble somehow, but i'll tell you, she was like a -- >> she never gave anything up. >> no. >> that may have been because dara had nothing to give up. at least that's what the family had hoped. >> i'd actually be so glad if it wasn't her because to know somebody for 3 1/2 years and know you had somebody in your life planning to murder somebody you loved, that's upsetting. i would have loved to have gotten that call and say they confessed and she didn't do it. you don't want to know you knew a murderer for three years. you don't want to know that because then you never trust anybody again. >> 14 months after john lachappelle was gunned down, a judge in thailand issued an arrest warrant for dara panasy. the charge, premeditated murder. the family believed justice would finally be served, but they had another thing come.
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>> when i was first told by the fbi agent, i remember i was so upset. i was actually sick. coming up -- a legal twist that no one expected. all these people accused in this case are free? >> they're all free. they're all walking the streets. >> what was behind that? when "dateline" continues. looking to add a little smile to your chili ? try french's. mac and cheese need a boost ? french's helps that, too. chicken in need of cheering up? add french's to your marinade. it's a surprising way to add a little fun to your food and a whole lot of happy to your family. for recipes and valuable coupons, go to to add a little happy to almost any meal. french's. happy starts here. with listerine® whitening plus restoring rinse. it's the only listerine® that gets teeth two shades whiter and makes tooth enamel two times stronger.
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14 months after american businessman john lachappelle jr. was shot to death in thailand, his ex-fiancee, the alleged mastermind of the plot, was still living in connecticut in john's home. on the other side of the world, thai authorities charged dara panasy with premeditated murder. authorities felt the evidence against dara was strong, and she would soon be extradited to thailand. especially since they already had confessions from the shooter and john's former assistant, a man named james, who said tara paid him to arrange the hit. fbi agent james lawton -- you're thinking what about this? >> once they were convicted and sentenced, that james would fully cooperate and the next step in the process is to have dara panasy arrested and two
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through the extradition process. >> finally, in 2008, the two suspects were brought to a judicial hearing where officials expected they would be sent away for life or sentenced to die since they had already confe confessed. just as the proceeding was wrapping up, a stunning development. both defendants were set free. a judge ruled among other things that their confessions had been given under duress. both defendants were given bail and told not to leave the country while prosecutors app r appealed. neither the thai police nor the fbi could make sense of the judge's decision. does that make you suspicious? >> yes. >> in what way? >> i really can't get into that. that's a matter for the thai government to address. i will tell you this. the case against them in my opinion was overwhelming. >> back home, john lachappelle's family was speechless. how did you react when you heard these guys were loose at least
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for now? >> when i was told by the fbi agent i remember i was so upset. i was actually sick. >> johnny's dead and they're free. >> and they're free. after confessing that they killed him. >> and what about john's former fian fiancee, dara panasy? if there's a warrant for dara in thailand, why don't they send it your way and say, hey, we want her, pick her up, send her over here? >> they were in the process of doing that, but when the shooter and the middleman were let out, what they said is they want the appeal process to go through on the case before they reinitiate the extradition process to get dara arrested. >> any sense of the timeframe on that? >> no. and the most frustrating, tough part for me is that there's nobody in jail. that doesn't sit too well for me. >> do you lose sleep over this? >> yes. i think about it a lot. >> have you talked to dara? >> yes. >> how did that go? >> not too well. she lawyered up.
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>> did she give anything up? >> no. once she said she had a lawyer, that was the end of the conversation. >> she has not given any details as to what her side of the story is? >> no. >> john's family is worried the men who confessed but were released will take off and never be heard from again. when "dateline" traveled to thailand, we tried to find them and the informer and get their sides of the story. we tracked down james who was john lachappelle's assistant, to a small house in a village near the border with laos on the mai cong river. we spoke to his mother. does he live here with you? >> translator: no, he doesn't live here, sometimes he lives in chiang mai and sometimes in bangkok because he has to look for work. >> james had been there earlier that day but according to witnesses took off on a small canoe across the river and
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border. within an hour, though, he e-mailed us asking to be paid for an interview. we declined. remember, he had confessed, even to the fbi. but now he denied to "dateline" that he had anything to do with john lachappelle's killing. he said he was framed. i would suggest that you investigate how corrupt everything is and you'll get the answer you're looking for, he wrote. all i want to do is live my life in peace. we also traveled to a small village outside chiang mai. we saw where the weekly cockfight is held and where billiard games break the afternoon boredom. it's where we met this man. the informant who allegedly hired the shooter and who tipped off the police. he was given immunity to testify in the case. what did james ask for you to do? >> translator: go find a shooter man for him. >> to find a shooter man to do
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what? >> translator: to go kill his boss. >> to murder somebody? >> translator: to murder someone, yeah. >> and who did he want murdered? >> translator: the boss of jim. >> the boss of jim. james said he had nothing to do with john lachappelle's murder. what do you say to him? >> translator: he lied. >> we want to get his side of the story. and the alleged shooter, when he saw us approaching, he took off down this road on a motorcycle. for now, each suspect is free, and john's family believes something is rotten in thailand. they raised questions about the integrity of the thai judicial system. yet thai prosecutors say they'll see the case through. prosecutor -- >> translator: we want to
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express our condolences to john's family for what happened. i want john's family to be confident the prosecuting attorney will deal with the case to the end, through the thai justice system. >> but if the case goes to the thai supreme court as thai legal observers expect, that process could take years. and now, where's dara panasy? we tracked her down, too. and she wasn't happy. coming up -- was dara panasy involved in this plot? do you think dara had anything to do with john's murder? >> no. >> john's family fights for justice. >> i don't feel like we can have peace until the people who did this pay the price. >> when "trouble in paradise" conti
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dara panasy is a woman living under suspicion, but now more than four years after the killing after john lachappelle jr. in thailand, the woman accused of paying for the hit, his former fiancee is walking free along with the other suspects in the case and the fbi special agent in charge of the case is increasingly frustrated. >> there's a warrant for her arrest, but there's no warrant in the united states. >> john's family says they won't rest until she faces the charges. she's roaming free. >> oh, yeah. >> how does that set with you? >> makes life unlivable. bothers me every day when i wake up and i know she gets to wake up and do whatever she wants and
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my brother does not get to wake up. >> she's running that import/export business still. >> yep. i believe that's what she always wanted was that business. she was obsessed with that business. i believe that was her main goal, to get that. i'm never going to let go of this until she pays the price for what she's done. >> the family has appealed to washington for help. u.s. senator jack reid of rhode island sent a letter asking the state department to look into the case. his office told "dateline" that the u.s. consulate in chiang mai is monitoring developments and conveying its concern to thai authorities. reid says he supports the lachappelle family's efforts to find out the truth and seek justice. just where is dara panasy now? she moved with the home she shared with john in connecticut. she faces no charges from american authorities and thai authorities won't be seeking her
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extradition unless the case against the two suspects in thailand is reinstated. in fact, dara appears to be moving on with her life. take a look at this new england golf magazine. there she is at a photo taken at a fund-raiser at a massachusetts golf course. she lives in an apartment in this house in an upscale boston suburb. when she returned home one day recently, we attempted to ask her for an interview to get her side of the story. dara made it clear she did not want to be interviewed about the case. when i said, this must be difficult for her, she said, quote, you have no idea. and she asked us to contact her attorney, glen o'brien. we did, and o'brien sent us this letter on dara's behalf. dara does want you to know she was not involved in john's death in any way, he wrote. the letter also says that dara's only contact with james involved john's business. and she never met him
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personally. the letter addresses the $8,400 that dara sent to james right before john was killed. police say that money was used to hire a hit man. her attorney says that's not true, that john, himself, asked dara to sent it from his u.s. account to james' account for business expenses. as for james, dara says she doesn't know what to believe about him, except that if he harmed john she had no involvement in it whatsoever. the letter says john kept dara as the beneficiary in his will, quote, because she remained his closest friend after their personal relationship ended. the attorney also says, quote, john's death shocked dara and made her extremely sad. back in thailand, dara has at least one defender. john's business attorney who says the phone calls and payments were, indeed, regular business dealings and dara was not jealous. do you think dara had anything to do with john's murder?
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>> no. >> why not? >> because she loved john very much and she know about -- >> all his girlfriends. she knew about -- >> she knew already. >> and when oi informed dara of john's killing she said dara sounded genuinely shocked. >> she's crying. i can hear that -- >> before this, dara panasy never had legal trouble in her life, but that doesn't mean anything to james lawton. >> i've done a lot of murder investigations, and murder is not always committed by criminals. sometimes it's committed by average people and they get overwhelmed by outside influences, by drugs or alcohol or greed. but the most irrational, crazy behavior i've ever seen from normal people is when they love somebody and if they'they've be rejected and that's what this case is about. >> you might remember john was
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known as the monkey man. now his father and sister don't even know what ever became of his beloved jacob. all the family can think about now is that john was a loving son and brother whose life was stolen away. >> i don't feel like he can have peace until the people who did this pay the price for what they've done. >> how far are you willing to go? >> as far as i have to go. i don't think people know what it's like when somebody they loved was murdered, especially when justice hasn't been brought to them. unless you've lost somebody you love to murder, you never, never understand what that feels like. >> that's all for now. i'm chris hansen. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for joining us. -- captions by vitac --


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